Book notes: How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes

How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes book summary review and key ideas.

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes

Synopsis:

“What is that magic quality that makes some people instantly loved and respected? Everyone wants to be their friend (or, if single, their lover). In business, they rise swiftly to the top of the corporate ladder. What is their “Midas touch?”

What it boils down to is a more skillful way of dealing with people.

The author has spent her career teaching people how to communicate for success. In her book How to Talk to Anyone, Lowndes offers 92 easy and effective sure-fire success techniques – she takes the listener from first meeting all the way up to sophisticated techniques used by the big winners in life. In this information-packed audiobook you’ll find:

  • 9 ways to make a dynamite first impression
  • 14 ways to master small talk, “big talk,” and body language
  • 14 ways to walk and talk like a VIP or celebrity
  • 6 ways to sound like an insider in any crowd
  • 7 ways to establish deep subliminal rapport with anyone
  • 9 ways to feed someone’s ego (and know when NOT to!)
  • 11 ways to make your phone a powerful communications tool
  • 15 ways to work a party like a politician works a room
  • 7 ways to talk with tigers and not get eaten alive” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I don’t remember exactly how I cam across this book but I imagine it might’ve been through Audible recommendations. It’s been on my list for a while now but it seemed like a great book for this month since I’m actively learning and applying sales and customer service in my new job. I presume the the principles and tips I’ll learn in this book will be extremely useful in my life right now.

Key notes:

  • There are two types of people:
    1. Those who walk in the room and think “here I am”
    2. Those who walk in the room and think “ah, there you are”
  • Her drama teacher told her that your body, the way you move, is your autobiography in motion

Part 1: How to intrigue everyone without saying a word

  • The way you look and move is more than 80% of someone’s first impression of you
  • Studies show that emotional reactions occur even before the brain has time to register what’s causing their reaction
  • Posture of a cool, confident, charismatic guy:
    • great posture
    • heads up look
    • confident smile
    • direct gaze
      • Ideal image for somebody who’s a somebody
  • Technique #1: The flooding smile
    • Don’t flash an immediate smile
    • Instead, look at their face for a second, pause, soak in their persona, then let a big warm responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes
      • It will engulf the recipient like a warm wave
    • Intense eye contact makes the other person respect you more
      • Maintaining strong eye contact gives you the impression of being an intelligent and abstract thinker
      • Because they integrate incoming data more easily than concrete thinkers, they can continue looking into someone’s eyes even during the silences
      • Their thought processes are not distracted by peering into their partner’s eyes
  • Technique #2: Sticky eyes
    • Pretend your eyes are glued to your conversation partner’s with sticky warm taffy
    • Don’t break eye contact even after they have finished speaking
    • When you do break eye contact, do so ever so slowly and reluctantly until the gooey string finally breaks
      • This sends a message of comprehension and respect
  • Technique #3: Epoxy eyes
    • If romance is your goal, epoxy eyes is a proven aphrodisiac
      • It takes at least 3 people to pull off
    • When the speaker is talking, you focus on the listener, aka the target
    • In romance, epoxy eyes transmits the idea of “I can’t take my eyes off of you” or “I only have eyes for you”
    • Intense eye contact can be a turn on
    • For men, epoxy eyes is extremely effective on women if they find you attractive
  • Posture technique #4: Hang by your teeth
    • Pretend you are hanging by your teeth on a trapeze bar
  • Technique #5: The big baby pivot
    • The instant you’re introduced, reward your new acquaintance
    • Warm smile, total body turn, and undivided attention

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

Zig Ziglar
  • The secret to making people like you is showing how much you like them 
  • Technique #6: Hello old friend
    • When meeting someone, play a mental trick on yourself
    • See him or her as an old friend
  • Technique #7: Limit the fidget
    • Whenever your conversation really counts, do not fidget, wiggle, twitch, squirm, or scratch
    • Above all, keep your hands away from your face
  • Technique #8: Hans horse sense
    • Express yourself but keep a keen eye on how your listener is reacting to what you’re saying, then plan your moves accordingly
  • Technique #9: Watch the scene before you make the scene
    • Rehearse the “super somebody” you want to be ahead of time

Part Two: How to Know What to Say After You Say Hi

  • Small talk is not about facts or words
    • It’s about music, melody, and putting people at ease
    • Matching their mood can make or break the sale
  • Technique #10: Make a mood match
    • Best opening line: anything
    • Almost anything you say really is okay as long as it puts people at ease and sounds passionate
    • Put people at ease by convincing them they are okay and that the two of you are similar
  • Technique #11: Prosaic with passion
    • Tone is more important than text
    • 80% of your listeners impression has nothing to do with your words
    • Anything you say is fine as long as it’s not complaining, rude, or unpleasant
  • Technique #12: Always wear a “WhatsIt”
    • Whenever you go to a gathering, wear or carry something unusual to give people who find you delightful an excuse to approach
    • It’s any object that draws people’s attention and inspires them to approach you and ask “what’s that?”
    • Be a whatsit seeker: become proficient at scrutinizing the apparel of those you wish to approach
  • Technique #13: Who is that?
    • Simply ask the party giver to make the introduction or pump for a few facts you can immediately turn into icebreakers 
  • Technique #14: Eavesdrop in
    • Get close and listen in, then find your chance to say “excuse me I couldn’t help but overhear…”
  • Technique #15: Never the naked city
    • Never give a one-word answer about where you’re from
    • Learn some engaging facts about your area that conversational partners can comment on 
  • Technique #16: Never the naked job
    • When asked what do you do, flush it out and throw out some delicious fax about your job for new acquaintances to munch on
  • Technique #17: Never the naked introduction
    • When introducing people, don’t throw out an unbaited hook
    • Bait the conversational hook
  • Technique #18: Be a good word detective
    • Listen to your conversation partners every word for clues to his or her preferred topic
    • Truly confident people know they grow more by listening than by talking
  • Technique #19: The swiveling spotlight
    • When you meet someone, imagine a giant revolving spot light between you
    • The more you keep the spotlight shining on them, the more interesting you are to them
  • Technique #20: Parroting
    • Like a parrot, simply repeat the last few words your conversation partner says 
  • Technique #21: Encore
    • The sweetest sound a performer can hear is the shouts of encore
    • Start with “tell them about the time you…”
    • Choose an appropriate story you know the person loves to tell that the crowd will enjoy
  • Technique #22: Accentuate the positive
    • When first meeting someone, lock your closet door and save your skeletons for later.
  • Technique #23: The latest news
    • Don’t leave home without it

Part 3: How to Talk Like a VIP

  • Technique #24: What do you do, not
    • A sure sign you’re a somebody is the conspicuous absence of the question “what do you do?
    • Instead ask, “how do you spend most of your time?”
  • Technique #25: The nutshell resume
    • Let a different true story about your personal life roll off your tongue for each listener
  • Technique #26: Your personal thesaurus
    • Look up some common words you use everyday, then try out a few new words
    • If you like them, start making permanent replacements.
  • Technique #27: Kill the quick “me too”
    • Whenever you have something in common, the longer you wait to reveal it, the more moved and impressed he or she will be
  • Technique #28: CommYOUnication
    • Start every appropriate sentence with “you”
    • It immediately grabs your listeners attention and gets a more positive response
  • Technique #29: The exclusive smile
    • When meeting groups of people, greet each with a distinct smile
  • Technique #30: Don’t touch a cliche with a 10-foot pole
  • Technique #31: Use techniques of motivational speakers such as humor and understanding context
  • Technique #32: Call a spade a spade
    • Don’t hide behind euphemisms
  • Technique #33: Trash the teasing
    • Never make a joke at someone else’s expense 
  • Technique #34: It’s the receivers ball
    • Before throwing out any news, keep the receiver in mind, then deliver with the appropriate emotional emphasis
  • Technique #35: The broken record
    • Whenever someone persists in questioning you on an unwelcome subject, simply repeat your original response. Use precisely the same words and same tone of voice
  • Technique #36: Big shots don’t slobber over celebrities
    • Don’t complement their work, simply say how their work has given you so much pleasure
    • If you do single out a a piece of work or accomplishments, make sure it is a recent one
  • Technique #37: Never the naked thank you
    • Never let the phrase “thank you” stand alone
    • Always follow it with “thank you for…” 

Part 4: How to be an insider in any crowd

  • Technique #38: Scramble therapy
    • Once a month, scramble your life
    • Do something you’d never dream of doing
    • Scramble therapy is scrambling up your life and participating in an activity you’d never think of indulging in
    • Just 1 out of 4 weekends, do something totally out of your pattern
  • Technique #39: Learn a little “jobletygook”
    • This is the language of other professions
    • Speaking it makes you sound like an insider
    • The best way is to ask an insider friend to teach you some of the lingo and best opening questions
  • Technique #40: Bearing their hot button
    • Find out what the hot issues are in someone’s field
    • Every industry has burning concerns the outside world knows little about 
  • Technique #41: Read their rags
    • Read magazines pertaining to the industry you will be encountering to learn insider news 
  • Technique #42: Clear customs
    • Get a book on cultural customs and taboos on wherever you’re visiting
  • Technique #43: Bluffing for bargains
    • Your prices are much lower when you know how to deal and talk insider talk
    • Before any big purchase, find several vendors to learn from and one to buy from

Part 5: Instant rapport

  • Technique #44: Be a copy class
    • Watch people and look at the way they move
    • Copying their movement style makes them subliminally comfortable with you
    • People are most receptive to those they feel have the same values in life
    • Match your personality to your product
  • Technique #45: Echoing
    • It is a simple yet powerful linguistic technique
    • Hearing their words come out of your mouth creates subliminal rapport 
  • Technique #46: Potent imaging
    • Evoke your listeners interest or lifestyle and weave images around it
    • Use analogies from your listeners world, not your own
  • Technique #47: Employ empathizers
    • Vocalize complete sentences to show your understanding
  • Technique #48: Anatomically correct empathizers
    • Use visual, auditory, or kinesthetic empathizers depending on your conversation partners
  • Technique #49: The premature we
    • Create the sensation of intimacy with someone even if you just met moments before
    • Skip conversational levels 1 and 2, and go straight to 3 and 4
  • Technique #50: Instant history
    • When you meet a stranger you’d like to make less a stranger, search for some special moment you shared during your first encounter

Part 6: How to Differentiate the Power of Praise from the Folly of Flattery

  • Technique #51: Grapevine glory
    • A compliment one hears is never as exciting as the one he overhears.
    • We are more apt to trust someone who says nice things about us when we aren’t listening than someone who flatters us to our face
  • Technique #52: Carrier pigeon kudos
    • Become a carrier of good news and kudos
    • Whenever you hear something complimentary about someone, go to them to deliver the compliment
  • Technique #53: Implied magnificence
    • Throw a few comments into your conversation that presupposes something positive about the person you’re talking with
  • Technique #54: Accidental adulation
    • Become an undercover complementer
    • Stealthily sneak praise into the parenthetical part of your sentence 
  • Technique #55: Killer compliment
    • Search for one attractive, specific, and unique quality he or she has
    • At the end of the conversation, look them in the eye, say their name and deliver the compliment
    • Killer complement rules:
      1. Deliver your complement in private
      2. Make your killer compliment credible
      3. Confer only one killer compliment per half year on each recipient
  • Technique #56: Little strokes
    • Let the people around you know how much you appreciate them by caressing them with verbal little strokes
  • Technique #57: The knee-jerk “wow”
    • You must praise people the moment they finish a feat
  • Technique #58: Boomeranging
    • Let compliments boomerang right back to the giver
    • Quickly respond with something like “that’s very kind of you” 
  • Technique #59: The tombstone game
    • Ask people what they would like engraved on their tombstone
    • Keep it in your memory but don’t mention it again
      • When the moment is right to say “I appreciate/love you” then fill the blanks with their words they gave you before
  • Technique #60: Talking gestures
    • If you want to come across as engaging on the phone, you must turn your gestures into sounds and words
  • Technique #61: Name shower
    • People perk up when they hear their name, so use it more often when you’re on the phone to keep their attention
  • Technique #62: Oh wow it’s you!
    • Answer the phone warmly, crisply, and professionally
    • After you hear who is calling, let a huge smile of happiness engulf your entire face and spill into your voice
  • Technique #63: The sneaky screen
    • If you must screen your calls, train your staff to say that you put them right through
    • When they pick the call back up and apologize for not being able to push through, the caller won’t feel screened
  • Technique #64: Salute the spouse or secretary
    • Whenever calling someone, always identify and greet the person who answers. Whenever calling more than once, try to make friends with them
  • Technique #65: What color is your time?
    • Always begin your phone conversation about timing
  • Technique #66: Constantly changing outgoing message
    • Leave a short, professional, and friendly greeting as your outgoing message
  • Technique #67: Your 10 second audition
    • Use your voicemail as a 10 second audition to prove you are worthy to call back
  • Technic #68: The ho hum caper
    • Instead of using your party’s name, casually let the pronoun “he” or “she” roll off the tongue
  • Technique #69: I hear your other line
    • Acknowledge the noise in the background immediately and ask if they have to attend to it
  • Technique #70: Instant replay
    • Record all of your business conversations and listen to them again

Part 8: How to Work a Party Like a Politician Works a Room

  • Technique #71: Munching or mingling
    • Politicians know to never hold food or drink at a party
    • Chow down before you come 
  • Technique #72: Rubberneck the room
    • When you arrive at the gathering, stop dramatically at the doorway, then slowly survey the situation
  • Technique #73: Be the chooser, not the choosee
    • Make every party rehearsal for the moment you might actually meet the person who will change your life
  • Technique #74: Come hither hands
    • Be a human magnet, not human repellent
    • Arrange your body in an open position, especially your arms and hands
  • Technique #75: Tracking
    • Check the tiniest details of your conversation partners lives
    • Refer to them in your conversation like a major news story
    • It creates a powerful sense of intimacy
  • Technique #76: the business card dossier
    • Right after you talk to someone at a party, write down notes to remind you details of the conversation
  • Technique #77: Eyeball selling
    • Plan your pitch and pace according to the other persons body signals
  • Technique #78: See no bloopers, hear no bloopers
  • Technique #79: Lend a helping tongue
    • Whenever someone’s story is aborted, bring back attention to the story after the interruption
  • Technique #80: Remember WIIFM and WIIFY
    • Whenever you ask for a meeting or favor, divulge the respective benefits
    • Reveal what’s in it for you and the other person
  • Technique #81: Let them savor the favor
    • Whenever a friend agrees to a favor, all them time to enjoy it
    • Wait at least 24 hours
  • Technique #82: tit for ….tat
    • When you do someone a favor and it’s obvious they owe you one, wait a suitable amount of time before asking for them to pay
  • Technique #83: Parties are for pratter, pleasantries and good fellowship, not for confrontations
  • Technique #84: Dinner is for dining
    • It’s okay to brainstorm and discuss positive side of business when eating
    • But no tough business or unpleasant topics
  • Technique #85: Chance encounters are for chit chat
    • Do not try and capitalize on a chance meeting if you’re in any sensitive communication with someone 
  • Technique #86: Empty their tanks
    • Let people have their entire say first before offering your ideas
  • Technique #87: Echo the emo
    • Facts speak, emotions about
    • Let people emote
    • Hear their facts but empathize like mad with their emotions
  • Technique #88: My goof, your gain
    • Whenever you make a mistake, make sure your victim benefits
  • Technique #89: Leave an escape hatch
    • Whenever you catch someone deceiving, don’t confront the dirty duck directly
    • Unless it’s your job to catch them, let the transgressor go
  • Technique #90: Buttercups for their boss
    • A sure fire way to get their special care in the future is to send a flattering letter about them to their boss
  • Technique #91: Lead the listeners in a positive reaction
    • Be the first to applaud or publicly commend the person you agree with
  • Technique #92: The great scorecard in the sky
    • Player with lower score pays deference to players with higher score
  • Excellence is not a single and solitary action
    • It is the outcome of many years of making small, smooth moves
  • Repeating an action makes a habit. Yours habits create your character. Your character is your destiny.

Main ideas / Themes:

  • Body language plays a huge role in people’s impression of you
  • Preparation goes a long way when beginning a conversation with someone
  • Active listening and asking good questions are key for a good conversations
  • Doing research into the lingo of the industry will greatly help with establishing rapport
  • People feel more comfortable around those who share the same values
  • Authentic and specific praise is extremely powerful
  • Networking like a politician is a very deliberate and purposeful practice

Closing thoughts:

To be honest, I really didn’t like this book. Not only was there only really 2-3 good nuggets in the book, but a solid 80% of the book could have been edited down and saved the reader a ton of time.

Perhaps it’s just my preference, but I really did not like all of her flowery and seemingly superfluous language. For example “How to differentiate the power of praise from the folly of flattery.” And this happens more often than I’d like.

About 1/3 of the way through, I was thinking, “omg, how much longer is this book?? I’m already over it!

Content wise, there isn’t anything in here that you couldn’t find in bigger and more popular self-help books in the same realm. There’s just so much fluff, and the tips that were actually of value were merely quick fix tactics, and not long term strategies or powerful mindsets. Half of the time, I felt like doing some of these things will make me feel manipulative.

Regardless, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. I’d recommend they read one of the online book reviews for this book. (Even if its not mine, as long as you get good information out there).

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

One of the things I have been putting into practice since reading this book was saying “what do you spend most of your time doing?” instead of “what do you do for work?” which I think sounds a lot better and open ended to allow them to talk about something they’re passionate about.

That being said, my one takeaway for this review would be:

  • Using authentic and specific killer compliments on people I want to build rapport with or make them feel good.

This shouldn’t be too hard, but I’ll definitely try the “tombstone technique” on people when the time is right.

Nutshell:

92 Little Tricks on how to be less socially awkward, but only 20 of them are actually useful or worth internalizing.

Rating:

2/5

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